Helping Horses with Laminitis
Laminitis The Symtoms and Critical First Steps for Care
by LaminitisSTOP from Balanced Eco Solutions
What is Laminitis?
Laminitis, commonly called ‘founder’ is one of the worst diagnoses a horse owner can receive.
This illness, which causes the horse to have severely painful hooves, is complex, mysterious,
excruciatingly painful, costly and time consuming to treat and has a poor prognosis in many cases.
Some owners of horses with this diagnosis will even choose to have the horse euthanized, to spare
the horse days, months and even years of terribly painful hooves. The illness is especially hard to
deal with because it is also very psychologically distressing for the horse. Horses are prey animals
that depend on their ability to flee swiftly to keep themselves safe. It is especially distressing for a
horse to have a painful condition that prevents their movement. Horses with acute founder find it
very difficult to take even one step, and will lie down for hours at a time to ease the pressure in
their feet. We humans, not being prey animals ourselves, cannot imagine how distressing this is for
such a naturally athletic flight animal to endure. Founder is also a double whammy of tragedy for
the caring horse owner, who is left managing a chronically lame horse. A foundered horse could
easily live for years, require constant monitoring, special feed and hoof care, and still live in
constant pain and never recover enough to be rideable. It is easy to see how wise an investment
prevention and effective, early intervention can be when it comes to laminitis. Our product, LaminitisSTOP, is unique in that it is designed as an emergency first aid treatment to stop the
progression of an acute laminitis episode in a rapid, safe, nontoxic manner. This stops the terrible, and sometimes permanent, destruction that occurs in untreated laminitis.
Early symptoms of laminitis can include:
•Characteristic stance involves standing with the front feet farther forward than usual. (This takes
some of the weight off of the painful front half of the foot.) This can be slight to very obvious.
•Changes in gait, such as a shortened gait especially in one or both front feet.
•Tenderness on hard, uneven or rocky surfaces, or when turning, while seeming fine on soft grass and while moving in a straight line.
•Slight warmth in the front (usually front only) hooves
•Seeking out soft ground or water to stand in, digging to try to find a comfortable angle for front hooves.
•Subtle signs include sourness or unusual reluctance under saddle, or lying down more than usual.
•Tenderness on firm pressure to the front half of the sole (bottom) of the hoof.
Later signs of acute founder include:
•Moderate to severe lameness on one front hoof, or reluctance to walk if both front hooves are damaged.
•Obvious ‘founder stance,’ horse will stand with front feet ‘rocked out’ in front of the body.
•Hooves will feel hotter than healthy hooves.
•Digital pulses (felt in the arteries on the insides of the fetlocks) will be stronger (‘bounding pulses‘).
Chronic laminitis includes:
Above symptoms can continue, and one can also see:
•Characteristic ‘rippling’ or rings in the growth of the hoof wall, especially in the front hooves.
•These growth rings will often dip or get fatter towards the front of the hoof. Heels may appear very high.
•The underside of the hoof will show several things. You will see a flattened(central part of the hoof)
•‘White line separation’ will be present, especially at the toe area. This can be from a few
millimeters to an inch or more of separation between the wall and the rest of the hoof. Long term
cases will grow a ‘slipper hoof’, where the separated toe curls forward and grows out in front of the rest of the hoof.
What causes laminitis?
Laminitis research is ongoing, and much remains unknown about the exact mechanisms involved.
One of the strongest theories involves ‘enterotoxin’ damage. This occurs when the horse eats
something toxic, has a sudden food change such as a carbohydrate overload, or has an underlying
metabolic condition affecting the small intestine. For example, let’s look at a case of laminitis
brought on by a sudden food change, such as a horse on hay that is suddenly given a large amount
of sweet feed. The theory is that the normal ‘good’ bacteria in the foregut, which helps the horse
break down his food, is not adapted to the change and are damaged. Other, more toxic, bacteria proliferate, fermentation occurs, and the change in the pH and other measures in the intestine
causes a ‘die off’ of bacteria. The toxic breakdown products of these dying bacteria are absorbed
through the intestinal wall, into the blood circulation. They cause inflammation, and inflammation causes pain.
The hooves are very, very sensitive structures to this for two reasons; firstly, they are very
‘vascular’, meaning the inside of the hoof is just packed with blood vessels big and small. Second,
the hooves are inflexible, so inflammation (which normally causes swelling) rapidly creates a painful
pressure in hooves, which can’t expand like other tissue. Imagine hitting your thigh with a hammer
versus hitting your thumbnail. Thumbnail hurts much more, right? Now imagine walking on the
thumbnail. Ouch! That’s why enterotoxin mediated inflammatory products hurt so much in the
hooves. In addition, the pressure from the inflammation in the hooves causes the tissue in the
hooves to ‘suffocate’ because the delicate tissue is pressed up against the rigid hoof wall. This is
called ‘pressure necrosis’ and it is responsible for the long term (sometimes permanent) damage to
the hooves. If damage is severe enough, the tissues that connect the ‘coffin bone’ in the hoof to the
rest of the hoof will be damaged and the hoof will appear to ‘rotate’ or pull away from its
connection to the bone. This separation is what an x-ray will reveal in a severe laminitis diagnosis. This also shows up as ’flat feet’ which have ’lost their cup’.
Prevention of Laminitis
It is very important for any caring horse owner to be aware of how to prevent laminitis, as
prevention is so much easier than treatment. Prevention includes:
1. Consistent, regular feeding of forage, free of toxins and excess nitrogen, with adequate minerals.
2. Adequate exercise and maintenance of healthy body mass (not too heavy).
3. Regular veterinary care and checkups to catch any metabolic diseases such as Insulin Resistance.
4. If changes to the diet are needed, they should be gradual, to allow the gut bacteria to adjust.
5. Horses on grass or hay should be on the ‘right’ kind of grass. This is grass that is not stressed
or overgrazed, and not storing sugars called ‘fructans‘. See safergrass.org for more information.
What should I DO?
Many people try to maintain the above measures, but accidents can and do happen. Perhaps your
horse breaks into the feed room and gorges on sweet feed, or someone leaves a gate open and the
horse suddenly gets a whole day of rich spring grass. . . Even the best of horse care can still leave
room for laminitis to occur. While there are many good natural products available to help prevent
some of the underlying conditions that can lead to laminitis, only LaminitisSTOP treats an acute,
sudden episode of laminitis as an emergency first aid treatment. To use it effectively, however, you
must have it on hand! LaminitisSTOP is effective when used at the onset of the episode. It cannot
correct the damage of a ‘pressure necrosis’ after it has occurred. So, remember the Boy Scouts, and ‘be prepared’.
How Does LaminitisSTOP work and what is it?
LaminitisSTOP works by absorbing, neutralizing and escorting out the ‘enterotoxins’ from the
intestines before they can get into the bloodstream and damage the hooves. It also contains natural
mineral and herbal blood vessel relaxants and tonifiers that help the microvasculature (small blood
vessels) of the hooves stabilize, which reduces pressure necrosis and its resulting tissue damage.
The profound effect of neutralizing enterotoxins can actually prevent an impending laminitis episode from even occurring when it is given to a vulnerable horse before symptoms begin. When
LaminitisSTOP is given at the first signs of founder (listed above) it can stop the episode in its tracks, often with no residual hoof damage. Even a horse with profound acute signs can
experience considerable relief when given LaminitisSTOP within the first 3 days of the episode. Honestly, LaminitisSTOP provides minimal change to a horse suffering from chronic, long term
founder, unless he is experiencing an acute ‘refoundering’ episode (such as a relapse). In that case LaminitisSTOP can prevent further damage from the relapse.
LaminitisSTOP contains a potent blend of micro fine absorbents, minerals and herbal concentrates
designed by a licensed Naturopathic Physician, horse breeder and farrier, Dr. Sally Boyd. She
designed the product for her horses and her client’s horses. It worked so well in so many different
types of cases that Flora & Fauna Equine decided to offer it to you, the educated and caring horse owner.
LaminitisSTOP, see our website www.balancedecosolutions.com or call us at (360) 263-2879.
LaminitisSTOP Case Studies
“My pinto mare ‘picked the lock’ on her paddock gate and I found her at the feed room door
with her head in a bag of COB with molasses. She had somehow dragged it under the feed room
door. She had eaten almost 1/3 of the bag. I had a friend who just had a badly foundered horse put down so I know what damage founder can do. That’s why I went ahead and bought
LaminitisSTOP, ’just in case‘. I felt her feet and they were already getting warm, and her pulses
were really heavy on those front feet, so I knew she was beginning to founder. I gave her the
LaminitisSTOP quickly and hosed her feet down for a few minutes. Within ˝ hour the pulses felt
normal and within an hour her feet were cool and she was fine. That was 3 months ago and her
feet grew out normal with no weird rings. I give the credit to LaminitisSTOP. -Storme McGuire, South Park, WA
“LaminitisSTOP gave me 2 more good years of riding on my great old horse, Baldur. He started
to founder 2 years ago. He was overweight and had a bit of Insulin Resistance. We gave him the
LaminitisSTOP and his feet cooled off and he stopped picking his way through the rocky pasture
right away. He grew a little bit of rings on the feet, but I think that is because I didn’t catch the
founder right away. He never was lame a day after the LaminitisSTOP.” -Sky M Lee, Kapoho, HI
Contact: Our Friendly Staff
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La Center, Washington 98629